Thursday, July 19, 2012

A few facts about Harav Yosef Sholom Elyashiv Zatzal

A few facts about Harav Yosef Sholom Elyashiv Zatzal

Elyashiv was his mother’s maiden name, it was taken in order to minimize bureaucracy and increase the odds of the entire family being able to come to Israel (then Palestine) with his illustrious maternal Grandfather Rav Shlomo Elyashiv. He did have the next 90 years to revert the name to that of his father – Leveninsohn – but the entire family kept Elyashiv. His father Rabbi Avraham authored a work called “Bikurai Avraham” -
His Grandfather was one of the greatest kabbalists of modern times, and  was the teacher of Rav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook in Kabbala. Rav Kook subsequently made the arrangements to bring Rav Shlomo Elyashiv to Israel. He is known by the name of his work “The Leshem”
At the age of 12 Rav Elyashiv served as a writer/stenographer for his grandfather.
Rav Kook performed the wedding of Rav Elyashiv – who married Sheina Chaya, the daughter Rav Aryeh Levin – the Zaddik of Jerusalem – and confidant of Rav Kook – who together with his son Rav Zvi Yehuda orchestrated the shidduch (match).

Rav Elyashiv never attended Yeshiva – he learned by himself - with his father, Grandfather and chevrutot.
From 1940 he learned in a Beit Midrash called Ohel Torah – which was under the direction of Rav Shmuel Yitzchak Hilman – father in law of the Chief Rabbi Herzog
He received “smicha” from the head of the Edah Charedis Rabbi Reuven Zelig Bengis. And was close to Rabbi Shimshon Aharon Polansky “the Tepleker”  and Rabbi Herzog
Was part of a special “think tank” which Rabbi Herzog assembled which met every Friday, other participants included Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Rabbi Bezalel Zolti,   and Rabbi Ovadya Yosef.
With the birth of the State of Israel was appointed the rabbi of the city of Ramle, a position he kept for a brief time
In 1950 was appointed a Judge in the religious court system, soon rose to become a judge on the rabbinical high court, a position he kept until 1974.
He left the Rabbanut due to a decision offered by Rabbi Goren who – “cancelled” a conversion to allow some children who were stigmatized as mamzerim to marry, once the conversion was cancelled their mother was retroactively never “married” to her first husband who was not Jewish. Rav Elyashiv was lenient in his criteria for conversion- hence he considered the first husband Jewish, the woman married, and the children illegitimate.

Rabbi Ari Kahn

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